• By The Financial District

BELARUS OPPOSITION: LACK OF UNIFIED RESPONSE LED TO HIJACK

The international community must act in concert against Belarus' weekend gambit to arrest a dissident journalist by forcing the passenger plane he was on to land in Minsk, says Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.

Now is the time to discuss joint steps "to bring the perpetrators to justice," wrote Tikhanovskaya, who lives in exile in Lithuania, on the Telegram messaging app on Tuesday.


The US should launch an investigation into the forced landing of the Ryanair flight and journalist Roman Protasevich's detention, she said after a phone call with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.


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"All of this is a result of the regime's impunity and the lack of a decisive response from the international community," she added, noting that she thinks Protasevich is being tortured.


In videos circulated in Belarus, Protasevich said he wanted to make further confessions about organizing mass unrest - statements the opposition said were made under duress, pointing to signs of beating.


Belarusian authorities alerted the crew of a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius of a possible security threat on Sunday and directed it to land at an airport near Minsk.


Long-time President Alexander Lukashenko also ordered a MiG-29 fighter jet to be scrambled to accompany the plane, according to the state news agency.


Authorities in Minsk then arrested Protasevich and his girlfriend, who was also on board, sparking international condemnation, sanctions, and the sealing-off of Belarusian airspace by the EU.


Air France and Finnair are the latest airlines to announce that they would be avoiding flying over Belarus for the time being.



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